News & Analysis

  1. google_cameras_big_feature

    Google Now learns even more about your likes, habits, and activities

    Google has taken another step towards knowing everything about its users. The company announced today that Google Now, the virtual assistant software that promises to provide information before a consumer even knows she needs it, will now be able to collect and present relevant data from some 40 third-party applications. Here’s one example, from the blog post announcing the platform’s expansion, of how this ability to showcase information from other apps might work for consumers: In the morning, catch up on news of…
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  3. snapspam

    Calm down, tech journalists: It’s okay if you don’t use Snapchat

    On the day Snapchat announced partnerships to host media content from publications like VICE and National Geographic, Bloomberg’s Joseph Weisenthal tweeted, “Real talk for a moment. I’ve never used Snapchat. Is this a career liability, a la not using Twitter from 2009-2015?” Then yesterday, Slate’s 32-year-old tech reporter Will Oremus shared similar anxieties, posing the question, “Is Snapchat Really Confusing, or Am I Just Old?” I can sympathize. I am 30, and although there was a period of…
  4. bitcoin_fiugitive

    The Silk Road trial is proof positive that bitcoin is not (and has never been) anonymous

    So much for the anonymity of bitcoin. What crypto-currency insiders have long known, but much of the media, regulators, and general public failed to grasp about bitcoin – that it is not actually anonymous, but rather is only pseudonymous and, if you can connect a digital wallet address to an individual, you can track very transaction ever made to and from that account – was demonstrated in stark detail in a Federal District Court in Manhattan this week. In the trial…
  5. vine-kids-phone-app

    Vine Kids is loud, colorful, and everything a child wants from a smartphone

    Vine has introduced a new mobile application dedicated to allowing children to watch six-second videos in an app that caters to their love of bright colors, weird sounds, and cartoon characters that will haunt their dreams a few years from now. It’s called Vine Kids. It seems like a desperate attempt to remind people Vine still exists — the app once thought to be the future of news and entertainment has faded into the background, all but forgotten…
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  7. elsewhere

    Google brings Project Tango into the company proper

    Google has brought Project Tango, its effort to create devices aware of their environments, out from its Advanced Technology and Projects group and into Google itself. It’s not clear how that will affect the project or into what products it might be integrated now that it’s more than just an experiment. [Source: Google]
  8. cookies

    Verizon plans to let consumers opt out of its invasive “perma-cookie” program

    Verizon will soon allow consumers to “completely opt out” of the program which assigns permanent identifiers to every device on the carrier’s wireless network. These identifiers have been referred to as “perma-cookies” because they allow other companies, not just Verizon, to gather information about consumers even after they change their privacy settings or remove other data-saving files from their devices. Verizon previously allowed its customers to opt out of having information gathered by these “perma-cookies” from being used to inform Verizon’s advertising,…
  9. hack

    Russian dating site pays hacker to recover stolen emails, but don’t call it a ransom

    Russian dating service Topface has paid a hacker an undisclosed sum to return 20 million customer email addresses he stole — but the company would prefer if you wouldn’t refer to the exchange of goods for stolen information as a ransom, thank you very much. The hacker is said to have made off with only the email addresses; he didn’t get the passwords associated with those emails, nor did he compromise any payments data. Topface claims that it doesn’t manage any…
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  11. Dark Uber

    Uber sued in California by Delhi rape victim, compared to “electronic hitchhiking”

    A 26-year-old New Delhi woman has sued Uber in California in response to her alleged December 6 rape by one of the company’s transportation network drivers (full complaint below). Identified only as Jane Doe in the complaint, the alleged victim accuses the company of negligence, fraud, and battery, among other claims. The complaint reads, in part: Through its relentless marketing efforts, Uber has urged the public to defy common sense and undermine every parent’s edict – “don’t get in the car…
  12. pando-inside-baseball

    AOL “folds” Joystiq, TUAW into Engadget

    AOL is planning to “fold” Joystiq (a game-focused site) and TUAW (the Unofficial Apple Weblog) into its larger tech website, Engadget, the AOL-owned TechCrunch reports. It’s not clear how many of the publications’ writers will still have jobs after their closure, or how the sites will be brought into Engadget. [Source: TechCrunch]
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  14. uber

    Uber’s rape, privacy woes continue

    Uber’s problems continue today with the news that an Indian woman who alleges she was raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi has sued the company in California, while Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) pushes the company to answer his questions concerning its privacy policies and practices. [Source: Time, Business Insider]
  15. google_cameras_big_feature

    Google settles with UK watchdog to protect consumer privacy

    Google has agreed to change its privacy policy after an investigation from the United Kingdom’s privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, decided the existing policy wasn’t clear enough for consumers to understand. The issue stems from the consolidation of around 70 privacy policies into a single policy in March 2012. In a statement, the ICO said this resulted in vague guidelines that didn’t make it clear what data was being gathered, or how it would be used. The updated terms have already…
  16. strictly-business

    Secret co-founder departs

    Secret co-founder Chrys Bader-Wechseler has left the company because it’s clear “the next chapter of Secret is beginning in a way that will be less about the kind of creation and design that I love.” In other words: he’s not happy that Secret now looks like a color-shifted rip-off of the Yik Yak application. [Source: Secret]
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  18. uber-bullshit

    Flywheel calls bullshit on Uber’s claims that it’s three times bigger than SF’s taxi industry

    One of the biggest arguments critics make when calling into question Uber’s sky-high $40 billion valuation is that the company can’t possibly be worth that much — because that’s bigger than the entire existing taxi industry it’s disrupting. But if you believe Travis Kalanick, the gremlin in a sport coat who runs Uber, his company is already bigger than the taxi market in its home market of San Francisco. Speaking at the DLD Conference in Munich earlier this month, Kalanick claimed
  19. The Social Network

    From “Selma” to “Social Network,” stop complaining when historical fiction plays loose with facts

    “I think it’s such a big disconnect from the way people who make movies think about what we do in Silicon Valley — building stuff. They just can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things.” – Mark Zuckerberg on The Social Network One of the most hated movies in Silicon Valley, particularly among those who have been around the scene for a while, is unquestionably The Social Network. Not only does…
  20. redballdog

    Startups Anonymous: Serial entrepreneurs have a problem with shiny red balls — and that’s okay

    [This is a weekly series that brings you raw, first-hand experiences from founders and investors in the trenches. Their story submissions are anonymous, allowing them to share openly without fear of retribution. Every Wednesday, we’ll run one new story chosen by Dana Severson, who operates StartupsAnonymous, a place for startups to share, ask questions, and  answer them in story-length posts, all anonymously. You can share your own story here.] Ask most people if you should…
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